Thursday, December 23, 2010

David Cameron is the Daily Telegraph's real target

What is behind the Daily Telegraph's campaign of entrapment against Liberal Democrat ministers?

The answer can be found in a House Points column I wrote after the resignation of David Laws. There I wrote of the Daily Telegraph
That newspaper is the focus for a group of malcontents who don’t just resent the coalition: they resent all the changes David Cameron has made to drag his party back into the political mainstream.

In their political Lalaland the country is crying out for hard right-wing government – the sort of policies that did so much to bring William Hague and Michael Howard success at the 2001 and 2005 general elections.
The ultimate goal of these right-wing Conservatives is to overthrow David Cameron. To do that they must break apart the coalition. And they are embarrassing Liberal Democrat ministers in an attempt to do just that.

On the Financial Times website George Parker offers much the same analysis:
Senior Tories admit some Conservative MPs hope the wheels may be coming off the coalition and it will not be long before the British public gets a chance to elect a true-blue government, abandoning what they perceive to be the coalition’s soft approach on issues such as Europe, crime and electoral reform.

“Those MPs are deluded, bonkers, mad,” said one Conservative minister. “If it were not for the Liberal Democrats, there would be no Conservatives in government.”

Another senior Conservative said: “To those of my colleagues who think it would be good to have a general election, then I say let’s have a February election and see how they like it. I’ve fought a February election and it’s not very much fun.”
Once again we see the ungovernability of the modern Conservative Party.

Another favourite theme of mine is that modern Conservatives are not really Conservative at all. What they have to offer is crude libertarianism and an overweening sense of entitlement.

For the Conservative Party used to have a strong sense that this sort of entrapment and surveillance was unBritish. It was this sense that lay behind Winston Churchill's claim in the 1945 that Labour "would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo" in order to achieve socialism. From the same era, the High Tory novels of Angela Thirkell are full of paranoia about government snooping.

Today it is right-wing Conservatives who use the tactics of the secret police in an attempt to bring about radical change in society.


John Minard said...


Tristan said...

I must admit I don't see much libertarianism in the Tory party.

A few 'libertoryans' perhaps - those who want limited freedom but are happy to support the large state where it helps achieve their ends (and fuels their sense of entitlement) - a bit like the 'tea partiers' in the US - low taxes, except for locking people up and the military.

Tristan said...

Forgot to add:
Aside from that - spot on.

Anonymous said...

The notion that the Conservative Party leadership was right wing between 1992 and 2010 is a fraud. John Major's favourite thinktank, the social market foundation, was run by former members of the SDP. John Major took in these chaps as his advisers. Daniel Finkelstein of the SDP became William Hague's close adviser, his other right hand man was George Osborne. Iain Duncan Smith's chief speech writer was Greg Clark, formerly of the SDP. Ex-SDP members disrupted IDS's leadership and caused an embarrassing split, while a moderniser group called The Movement led a campaign to humiliate the election winning Norman Tebbit in order to create a 'clause 4 moment'. The modernisers chucked out Iain Duncan Smith and replaced him with their own man, Michael Howard. David Cameron was Michael Howard's close adviser in the 1990s and wrote the 2005 manifesto. I could go on. Merry Christmas.